Auburn's players report Thursday and waste no time getting to work, as preseason practice begins on Friday. Things are a bit different than in the past, when nearly all incoming freshman and junior college transfers didn't arrive until "Report Day." Now, many of the newcomers have been on campus during the summer. However, the only people who have seen a glimpse of what they may be able to do this fall are their fellow players. So who are some new Tigers to keep an eye on with practice beginning in a day?
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer picked five candidates — a few who should already be familiar names to ardent Auburn fans.
Nick Marshall, quarterback: From the moment he signed with the Tigers, Marshall immediately leapt to the top of the quarterback depth chart in many people's minds. With the ability to make plays with his feet and blessed with a rocket arm, the Georgia native appears to be the perfect fit for Gus Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle attack. And Marshall will be given every opportunity to prove that during preseason practice.
Carl Lawson, defensive end: One of the most highly-touted prospects in the country, Lawson should be able to step in and play immediately -- and not just play, but possibly start.
The left end position is held down by senior Dee Ford, but right end was still up for grabs at the end of the spring, with Nosa Eguae trying to fend off Kenneth Carter. Expect Lawson to throw in his name in the mix early on and push for a spot in the starting lineup.
Montravius Adams, defensive tackle: Auburn came out of nowhere to get Adams' signature, though most would say it's because of the relationship the defensive tackle had already developed with defensive line coach Rodney Garner. Whatever the reason, it will pay dividends for the Tigers this fall and beyond.
Even though he's joining one of the deepest units on the team at the tackle position, don't be surprised if Adams garners significant playing time in 2013.
Elijah Daniel, defensive end: While not talked about as much as Lawson — possibly because he's from more of a hoops hotbed in Indiana than a football-crazy Southeastern state — Daniel shouldn't be counted out during preseason practice, either.
He easily could be a part of the fight for the right defensive end position, and even if he doesn't capture a starting job, he likely will figure prominently in the rotation this season whenever the first-teamers need a breather.
Tony Stevens, wide receiver: Among the incoming receivers, none has turned more heads than Stevens. Tight end C.J. Uzomah couldn't say enough good things about the Florida native after seeing what he could do during this summer's player-led "captain's practices."
Given the uncertain status of two of his fellow 2013 pass-catcher signees — Earnest Robinson is taking the junior college route after not qualifying academically, and Jason Smith may do the same — Stevens may be able to take advantage of their absence if he continues to impress during preseason practice.
Ryan Black covers Auburn athletics for The Anniston Star and The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.